#tbt: Local Legend Hattie Moseley Austin

You can’t talk about Saratoga’s food scene without talking about Hattie Moseley Austin, a Louisiana native who found her way to the Spa City and opened up a chicken shack on Federal Street in 1938. “Saratoga was fast, man; it was fast,” Miss Hattie once said of the era. “It was up all night long.”

Through the years, Hattie’s Chicken Shack became known not only for its famous fried chicken but also for its proprietor’s dedication to the Spa City community. “It’s not just legend, how giving she was,” says Kirsten Dart, whose family has been going to Hattie’s for generations. “My dad’s younger brother was killed in a tragic car accident the same year that my dad’s middle sister was graduating from high school. Miss Hattie catered the full graduation party for them for free because my grandmother wasn’t up to hosting.”

Though Dart’s family wasn’t related to Miss Hattie, that didn’t stop the restaurateur from treating them—and the rest of Saratoga—like they were. “It always felt like a family atmosphere when we were at the restaurant,” Dart says. “There were always lots of hugs—lots of joy.”  

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